K&N Pro Series West News & Notes: Monroe
As a driver in his first full season of competition in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, Derek Thorn is seeing many tracks for the first time. But that has not deterred the 26-year-old competitor from Lakeport, Calif.
He quickly established himself as a contender, winning the second race of the year. And now, as the series heads into the second half of the season, he is fourth in the championship standings.
Thorn will get his first look at a traditional stop in the Pacific Northwest when the series travels to Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash., for the NAPA Auto Parts 150 presented by Gene Price Motorsports on Saturday, July 14. It will mark the 52nd visit by the series to the historic fairgrounds track.
“I think it’s like most races we go to; as a driver you have to keep in mind how worn the track surface is,” Thorn said. “Tire management is big. You go to a track that worn out, you’re looking at similar grip numbers – similar to Havasu, but a lot faster.”
Although Evergreen Speedway is new to Thorn, it is familiar territory to his crew chief Bill Sedgwick, who calls the shots on the No. 6 Sunrise Ford/Lucas Oil/Eibach Ford team. Sedgwick, who won back-to-back series championships as a driver in 1991 and 1992 and consecutive championships as a crew chief in 2004 and 2005, drove to two wins in 10 starts at Monroe. He had an average finish there of 7.4.
“Bill is a very knowledgeable guy, not only as a crew chief, but as an ex-driver,” Thorn said. “Bill and I have very similar driving styles. So, I think Bill can relate really well to what I’m trying to accomplish behind the wheel. He has the ability to take the experience he’s gained in his years of driving, plus his years as a crew chief, and translate it real well. We’re always speaking the same language. That helps us out as a team tremendously.”
In addition to his win this season, Thorn has five top five and six top 10 finishes in eight starts. Although he is in his first full season of series competition, he was not eligible to participate in the rookie program this year due to the six starts he made in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East in 2008 and the six starts he made in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West last year.
|Race:||NAPA Auto Parts 150 presented by Gene Price Motorsports|
|Date:||Saturday, July 14|
|Time:||8 p.m. PT|
|TV Schedule:||SPEED, July 26, 3 p.m. ET|
|Track Layout:||.646-mile oval|
|2011 Winner:||Greg Pursley|
|2011 Polesitter:||Greg Pursley|
|Event Schedule:||Saturday: Practice 12-12:45 p.m., 1:15–2 p.m., Qualifying 4:30 p.m.|
|Track PR Contact:||Traci Hobbs (360) 805-6122 email@example.com|
|NASCAR IMC Contact:||Shon Sbarra, (704) 309-5493 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @shonsbarra|
The Race: This event is the ninth of 15 events on the 2012 schedule for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
The Procedure: The starting field is 24 cars, including provisionals. The first 20 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials. The remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 150 laps.
The Track: Evergreen Speedway is a semi-banked .646-mile paved oval with turns banked eight degrees and four degrees banking in the straights. This speedway has hosted 51 series events, dating back to 1964.
The Records: Qualifying: Greg Pursley, July 10, 2011, 101.862 mph, 22.831 seconds; Race: Ray Elder, July 6, 1975, 80.071 mph, 1 hour 10 minutes 15 seconds.
The History: Evergreen Speedway has hosted 51 NASCAR K&N Pro Series races, dating back to 1964.
MONROE RACE NOTES
Kwasniewski Continues Streak: Dylan Kwasniewski, who leads the championship standings, heads to Monroe with a streak of eight straight top-five finishes. The 17-year-old from Las Vegas is the only driver to finish in the top five in all eight races so far this season.
Six Winners: Six different drivers have visited Victory Lane in the first eight races this season. Gene Price Motorsports teammates, Greg Pursley and Dylan Kwasniewski, are the only multiple winners – with two wins each.
Tight Rookie Race: The tight battle continues for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year title as the series heads into the second half of the season. Cameron Hayley has edged ahead of Austin Dyne, while Dylan Hutchison is third, followed by Jessica Brunelli, Ronnie Jay and Braeden Havens.
LAST TIME OUT: Sonoma
Family Tradition: David Gilliland scored his second Sonoma win with a victory in the Pick-n-Pull Racing To Stop Hunger 200 on the road course in Sonoma, Calif., on June 23. With it, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular matched the two wins his father, Butch, scored at Sonoma.
Another Pole For Pursley: Greg Pursley set a track record in qualifying at Sonoma to win his second Coors Light Pole Award of the season and the 13th of his career. He turned a lap of 77.331 seconds (92.641 mph) around the 1.99-mile road course.
Strong First-Time Performance: Derek Thorn finished second in his first visit to Sonoma. It was only his fourth career series start on a road course.
NEXT TIME OUT: Colorado
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West heads next to Colorado National Speedway just north of Denver for the NAPA/Toyota 150 on July 28. Dylan Kwasniewski set series records in winning the pole and the race at CNS last year, becoming the youngest driver to do each.